The final of the Busta International Shield got underway on Thursday at the Sabina Park, Jamaica, but the home crowd had little to cheer about as batsman after batsman got a good start and then squandered it, mostly to Mahendra Nagamootoo.
Guyana skipper Carl Hooper won the toss and elected to field first, but a 102-run stand for the first wicket threatened to make him regret his decision. The fast bowlers were wayward and expensive, as was the wicket-keeping. As many as 20 byes and 14 no-balls contributed towards an abysmal tally of 48 extras in the 99 overs that were bowled on the day.
Chris Gayle, having made 41 off 104 balls with two fours and a six, was the first to fall, caught by Ramnaresh Sarwan off the bowling off Nagamootoo. His partner, Leon Garrick, departed seven runs later, caught by Hooper off the very same bowler for 36.
After Wavell Hinds stuck around for 76 balls to score 17, Jamaica were in desperate need of a solid partnership. Keith Hibbert and skipper Robert Samuels provided that in part with a 66-run stand, although Jamaica could have done with a lot more. Hibbert ground out 44 in 168 balls with two fours, while Samuels' 34 came at a marginally quicker pace, off 87 balls with four fours.
The partnership was broken when Nagamootoo trapped Samuels in front in the 84th over. Just four balls later, the leggie removed the dangerous Ricardo Powell for a duck.
Hibbert's resistance ended when Reon King had him caught by Neil McGarrell in the final over of the day. Jamaica ended the day on 229 for six, with Gareth Breese (eight off 51 balls) and Ryan Cunningham (one off two balls) at the crease.
The star bowler for the visitors was Nagamootoo, who took four for 71 in a marathon performance of 32 overs. His efforts on a slow pitch made up for waywardness elsewhere in the Guyanese bowling attack, and he will be Hooper's trump card in Jamaica's second innings as well.